Dez Hopeful He Can Play Against Packers, But Staying Patient With Injury

FRISCO, Texas – As is so often the case in the world of football, it's going to be a game of "wait and see" for Dez Bryant.

The Cowboys' top receiver returned to the practice field on Wednesday – albeit on a limited basis. Talking to reporters afterward, he said he felt good doing so, as he's been steadily working to recover from a hairline fracture in his knee.

"I'm able to run. I'm able to do my favorite routes. I just think it feels good," Bryant said. "We're just progressing each day and getting better. That's what's been happening."

Bryant has missed two consecutive games since he sustained the injury in the Week 3 win against Chicago. Back at the time of the injury, the timeline for return was set at a few weeks. It's certainly a positive sign to see the star wide out working into football drills, but that's doesn't necessarily mean he'll be ready to play Sunday in Green Bay.

Since the injury, Bryant has aggressively attacked his recovery with the athletic training staff – specifically, associate athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation Britt Brown. Asked about his availability against the Packers, Bryant said it'll depend on how he feels as the week goes on.

"It's all about I how I feel after Friday's practice," he said. "I feel good, we're rolling. If I don't, me, Britt, whoever, we're going to sit down and we're going to talk about it."

If that sounds at all familiar, it's probably because similar things are being said about Tony Romo's return from his fractured vertebrae. In a stark contrast to the angst of 2015, the Cowboys are sitting on one of the best records in the NFL as they approach their bye week.

Unlike last year, when it felt like their season was slipping away from them, the Cowboys know they're in good position – regardless of whether Bryant suits up at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

That fact was evident in the Cowboys' locker room for one simple reason. Bryant, who is typically consumed with competing, said he was fine with taking an easier approach to the situation.

"Yeah, I'm OK with it, because we are sitting at 4-1," he said. "We're doing an extremely great job. It's no need to rush things. Like I said, that plays a huge factor."

As mentioned above, the Cowboys have a weekend off following their trip to Green Bay. If Bryant doesn't play against the Packers, it means he'll get an extra two weeks to rest before an Oct. 30 home game against Philadelphia. If he does in fact sit out this week, he'd have tallied a grand total of 35 days to recuperate – plenty of time to feel confident he can play after the bye week.

"Oh man, I know that for sure," he said.

This week isn't over yet, though. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he's hopeful Bryant can increase his activity as the week goes along. As it stands right now, he hasn't participated fully in practice since Sept. 23.

Bryant might yet give it a go, but the Cowboys aren't going to force it. And their success to this point in the season has afforded them that luxury.

"Anytime you feel like you have a chance to do anything great you want to be patient, you want to take your time, you want to get everything right," Bryant said. "You don't want to be back and be half stepping. You don't want to be doing none of that. If I play, I'm going to be rocking and rolling. I'm going to be going full speed."


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